• Find Out Why These Omstars Teachers Practice Yoga

    “I feel blessed every time I teach that I can be a conduit for the teachings of yoga. I can get out of the way knowing that any transformation that takes place is the grace that happens between the student and their practice.” – Anamargret Sanchez

    We do our best to gather the most amazing yoga teachers in the world to teach Omstars members. They are dedicated to the practice and have so much to share with you. Today we’ve asked Marie Belle Perez Rivera, Shawn J. Moore, Anamargret Sanchez, and Henry Winslow to share some of their yoga experiences. Keep reading to find out why they practice and what advice they have for new yoga students.

    Why do you practice?

    Shawn J. Moore

    I practice to be in alignment with Self. For me, practice is practical, spiritual, and developmental.

    Anamargret Sanchez

    To stay awake to Life.

    Marie Belle Perez Rivera

    I love the connection and processing

    Henry Winslow

    I practice to understand myself, and to realize the best possible version of myself in this lifetime.

    Why do you teach?

    Shawn J. Moore

    Representation matters. I teach so people that look like me know that these practices are for them and beneficial to them.

    Anamargret Sanchez

    Because I love to share the rich beauty of Yoga. And I feel blessed every time I teach that I can be a conduit for the teachings. I can get out of the way knowing that any transformation that takes place is the grace that happens between the student and their practice.

    Marie Belle Perez Rivera

    I love connecting with the community, learning from them, and sharing in the process

    Henry Winslow

    To help others do understand themselves and realize the best possible versions of themselves.

    What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga student?

    Shawn J. Moore

    As a student – just sticking with the practice past some of the microagressions I experienced.

    Anamargret Sanchez

    When my intuition very strongly led me to my Himalayan Tantric lineage. I had never heard that inner voice speak so loudly or clearly.

    Marie Belle Perez Rivera

    The most inspirational moment I’ve experienced as a yoga student was finding my people, those willing to look at themselves, work with what is, and continue to do their work consistently, for a long period of time, with devotion.

    Henry Winslow

    In 2018 I won the World Yoga Asana Championships in Beijing, China. Plenty of people scoff at the idea of competitive yoga, and I think that’s totally fair. But I still point to my experience competing as both a major struggle and a major milestone because of the lessons I learned on stage. I competed for several years at the regional and even national level, and every time I would be well prepared and polished, only to stumble once it was my turn under the spotlight. The year that I progressed all the way to internationals and won first place was the year that I finally allowed myself to relax. I stopped trying to be the absolute best, and simply made my goal to do what was average for me. I’d always heard and understood intellectually that putting undue pressure on oneself wasn’t helpful, but the yoga championships ingrained this knowing in my physical body.

    What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga teacher?

    Shawn J. Moore

    Inspiring my students at Morehouse College (I teach full-time) to get involved in meditation and yoga.

    Anamargret Sanchez

    I’ve had many. But the most recent one was when a student told me that her yoga practice brought her back to her spirituality. That made my heart soar.

    Marie Belle Perez Rivera

    I had an experience in DC once that really shook me to my core and grounded me at the same time. In the city, we are taught to lock all doors at the beginning of class. If someone is late, they can take the next class. For some reason, this day I didn’t lock the door. 10 minutes into class, I had 3 students run in and roll their mats out to practice. I was a bit confused and locked the door after them. Class went as planned. After class, the students stayed after to thank me for leaving the door unlocked. There had been a shooting outside and they ran for cover. Our door was the only one unlocked so they came in to practice. They thanked me for leaving the door unlocked, accepting them, and guiding them into stillness.

    Henry Winslow

    When studios shut down worldwide in response to COVID-19, I was surprised, impressed, and inspired by the yoga community’s adaptability. Studios, teachers, and students rallied, stumbled their way through standing up online classes, and continued to support each other when everyone needed it most.

    What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their yoga journey?

    Shawn J. Moore

    Approach the practice from a place of exploration.

    Anamargret Sanchez

    Student first. Teacher second. Consistent practice is key. Fill your toolbox. Be the light.

    Marie Belle Perez Rivera

    Practice, explore, listen to your intuition, remain grateful, curious, resilient

    Henry Winslow

    Never compare yourself to others — only to yourself, yesterday.

    By Omstars

    Sign up for an Omstars membership to take your yoga practice to the next level.

    Click here to start your 14-day free trial today!

     

  • Yoga Pose Tutorial: Janu Sirsasana A or Head-to-Knee Pose

    This week’s pose of the week is Janu Sirsasana “A” or Head-to-Knee Pose A.

    The FOCUS of head-to-knee pose is really the extension of the sternum toward the knee. You should try your best to get extension in the back and avoid rounding.

    Rotate your right hip joint externally, while pointing your knee out to the side at a 90-degree angle.

    Try to relax the hip joint so the ball and socket can open and release.

    The sole of your right foot is resting against your inner left thigh and the right heel rests close to the pubic bone.

    Constantly roll your upper thigh toward the back of your pelvis while elongating your inner thigh muscles. It sounds like a lot but really it is not.

    Once you have the external rotation of the right thigh, fold your pelvis as far forward as possible and align your torso OVER your left thigh.

    Your heart, sternum, and public bone should be aligned and centered toward the left knee.

    Reach your chin to your left shin and gaze toward the toes of your left foot.

    Kept the left leg engaged and active.

    Hold for five breaths and do the other side.

    Remember, never force a pose but advance your practice with effort and ease. Check out Kino’s YouTube on the pose. It is only 3:18 but will give you a deeper understanding of the asana.

    By Dr. Bruce E. Barkus

    Dr. Bruce E. Barkus came to yoga, like most people, to become more flexible, get stronger and reduce stress. Low and behold he fell in love with all the other benefits yoga provides. He has been very consistent with a daily practice for the last eleven years and has come to look at it as part of his daily routine. Bruce’s certifications are Yoga Alliance RYT 500 through Asheville Yoga Center and 500 hours of Ashtanga Training for teachers with Miami Life Center. He teaches Ashtanga at Level Yoga in Vero Beach Florida and at Asheville Yoga Center. Over time, his students started asking for more details on poses and the benefits of a daily practice, so he started doing the pose of the week. There have been many that have guided his yoga practice, including Kino MacGregor, Tim Feldmann, Doug Keller, David Keil, Manju Jois, Stephanie Keach, and Lewis Rothlein. The poses he shares are primarily from the Ashtanga Primary Series as he finds the basic postures build a solid foundation for all the advanced poses.

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  • A Beginner’s Guide to Starting an At-Home Yoga Practice

    When you start your yoga journey, you’ll have difficulty getting into some poses. You’ll lose your balance and fall over. You won’t be as flexible or strong as you want to be. That is to be expected. Don’t beat yourself up. Yoga isn’t a contest to see who can get into the most challenging poses the fastest. It’s a journey of self-discovery.

    Yoga has entered the mainstream and many people around the world recognize the benefits it can have on both physical and mental health. If you are curious about yoga and interested in starting your practice at home, this guide is for you.

    Millions of people practice yoga at home every day. There are a variety of reasons to practice at home. Whether you’ve decided to practice yoga at home because you don’t have access to a yoga studio, don’t have the time or funds to attend a class, or simply feel uncomfortable trying something so new around others this post will give you the information you need to start a solid at-home practice.

    First, let’s start with the basics.

    What Is Yoga?

    Yoga is a practice that combines the inhalation and exhalation of breath with movement. It began in northern India more than 5000 years ago as a spiritual practice to train mind and body. It is a method to truly see yourself and by so doing truly see the world around you. The combination of breath and movement and meditation is used as a way to connect to higher consciousness.

    Today many ignore the spiritual aspects of yoga to focus on the physical. No matter what brings you to the practice know that as it becomes part of your life it will infuse itself in your day-to-day existence. You will not just see the physical benefits from your yoga practice but will also see mental benefits. Yoga is a journey and when you set your foot on the path you will not want to turn back.

    The Benefits of Yoga

    There are many benefits to starting a yoga practice. The physical benefits can be quite obvious. You need strength and flexibility to get into yoga poses and hold them. As you practice you will build strong lean muscles that will not only support you in your practice but decrease the risk of injury in your daily life. You will find that over time your flexibility will improve as well your balance.

    Besides the physical benefits of the practice, there are also mental benefits. Yoga can help you manage anxiety and change the way you respond to stressful situations. It can also ease chronic pain and help you get a better night’s sleep. Here’s a list of things yoga can help and links to studies about them for you to reference.

    These are just a few of the many benefits of practicing yoga.

    What You Need to Start Practicing Yoga

    Because we live in a consumer society there is an emphasis put on what people “need” to practice yoga. You could spend hundreds of dollars on yoga clothes, a mat, and all the accessories, but in reality, early practitioners had none of that. What they had was a dedication to the practice and an open mind and heart willing to learn. That is all you really need, but there are a few things most people practicing yoga in the modern age usually have.

    Yoga Mat

    When you practice you need a surface that you won’t slip on. That’s what a yoga mat does besides providing you with a little bit of cushion.

    Don’t get hung up on which yoga mat to buy. When you’re starting out, any will do.

    If you don’t have one you can use a small flat woven rug.

    The primary purpose of a mat is to help you be able to stay in positions like downward facing dog without slipping.

    Yoga Blocks

    Yoga blocks are useful to give you added support in some poses. If you don’t have yoga blocks you can use thick books in their place.

    Yoga Strap

    A yoga strap is also helpful but can easily be substituted with a belt or scarf.

    Yoga Clothes
    When you practice, be sure to wear clothes that allow you to move through your full range of motion. You do not want to feel restricted in any way while you are practicing.

    These yoga accessories can all be useful to have, but you don’t have to break the bank to get them. Stick to the most basic versions in the beginning. If you can’t get them all that doesn’t matter. What matters is having the desire to practice.

    How To Start Your Practice?

    When you’re first starting out it’s best to have some guidance. Online yoga classes have become an important tool for people looking to start practicing at home. Through the use of online yoga classes, you can learn from expert teachers from around the world. There are no limitations to the style of yoga you can learn.

    Joining an online yoga website like Omstars can give you access to thousands of classes and many different teachers who are eager to share the benefits of yoga with you.

    Below is an example of an online yoga class for beginners that you can use to get started.

    Tips to be successful at practicing yoga at home

    Now that you’re on your way to starting an at-home yoga practice here are some tips to keep you going.

    Set Aside Time to Practice

    Decide how often you want to practice. Maybe you only want to practice a few days a week. Maybe you only have a few minutes a day. It doesn’t matter if you have an hour or only 10 minutes, setting aside that little bit of time to do a few poses will help you get into the habit of practicing regularly.

    Listen to Your Body

    Many of us are used to ignoring the cues our body sends us. That is not something you want to do in yoga. Listen to your body. If you are experiencing pain or pinching back off. Always pay attention to what your body is telling you. Don’t push yourself too far. Yoga is not a contest to see who can get into the most difficult pose the fastest. Yoga is a journey of self-discovery. Self-discovery can only happens when you truly listen.

    Be Kind to Yourself

    When you start out, you’ll have difficulty getting into some poses. You’ll lose your balance and fall over. You won’t be as flexible as you want to be or as strong as you want to be. That is to be expected. Don’t beat yourself up if it’s difficult.

    Poses have modifications that you can use to make them more accessible to what your body can do at the moment. Over time as you practice what your body can do will change.

    Be kind to yourself in your practice. You’re not doing this to punish yourself. You’re doing this to learn, connect, and find a greater sense of well-being.

    As you move forward on your at-home yoga journey remember that you are not alone. There are many people practicing at home just like you. They use online yoga classes to help them at every step along the way. Here’s what one member of Omstars had to say about her membership.

    Omstars is an amazing tool and has been a huge help for me in developing a safe and insightful home practice as well as helping me continue my journey into the yogic state of mind, offering insight on anatomy and scripture that has been like having my very own satsang!

    If you’re interested in learning more about practicing yoga with the assistance of online teachers sign up to get a free beginners class class that will help you get started.

    Click here to get your free class!

     

     

    By Omstars

    Photo by kike vega on Unsplash